What's the oldest computer that can still be used to view the Web?

I know there are Web browsers available for older Macintosh computers, the Commodore Amiga, and the Atari ST. I’m wondering if it’s possible to surf the Web on even older computers; that is, they can be hooked up to the Internet, preferably with an Ethernet connection, and there is a Web browser available for them. For the sake of this question, terminal emulators connected to a remote computer running a text-based browser don’t count; the browser has to be native.

How old are we talking about? I know my 1997 G3/266 beige tower Mac does the web, via ethernet, with IE 5 (IIRC).

I’ve also surfed via Win95 on an old 486, again using IE4 or 5.

They work, but not terribly well. Flash and javascripts are iffy.

Not sure if this is what you’re looking for but Contiki can be used on the Commodore 64 to surf the web.

Well, first off, the computer has to be able to connerct to the Web. If we’re not using any intermediate equipment other than a modem, that presumes that it has a TCP/IP stack and can handle at least a dialup modem interface. If we are allowing intermediate equipment, presumably that lets us into the territory of serial terminals hanging off a mainframe or minicomputer connected to the Web.

Browsing the Web from an 1984 Apple II Computer (Video)

I’ve browsed the web from a 386SX 16Mhz running DOS 6.2 but that’s not nearly as old as some of the other computers mentioned. The setup I was using was 32-bit, so 286 won’t cut it.

Wow - thanks for the link, Squink! That really brings me back to my old BBS days. It’s almost inconceivable what the web is now.

They make a web browser for VMS for the old VAX computers. That will get you back to the late 1970’s. A Vax 11/780 (circa 1977) runs roughly as fast as a 386. Not exactly blazing speed, but it will work.

I am so gonna write a browser for a Vic-20. I oughta be able to do it in 3.5K memory, right? :smiley:

It would be difficult but you would probably make a fortune. All of the VIC-20 users I know say their only complaint is he lack of a good web browser.


Whoa - I am imagining the thrill of watching that at 110 BAUD like in the old days when 300 BAUD was too screaming fast for those dirty phone lines… :eek:

:: ponders a web browser on my ZX81 ::

IBM mainframes have a web browser called Charlotte.
I don’t know what language and libraries are needed for deploying it, but depending on how far back it can go, you may have another candidate.

Charlotte runs on VM/CMS, and was developed in 1996. Text of an interview with Carl Forde, its developer.

ETA: Worth noting is that it’s text-only.

I don’t know if this counts, but I’ve used a Commodore 64 back in '94 to telnet into my university account, and then used lynx through the server to browse Web pages. I imagine you’d be able to do this with a VIC-20 just as well, although the formatting would be all screwed up with the 20 columns the VIC-20 has.

Thing is, lynx isn’t running native on your VIC-20.

Can you run Lynx on the original PDP-11?

No, it’s certainly not, which was the reason for “I’m not sure if this counts.” I wonder how big lynx is. I don’t know if you can fit it in the VIC-20’s unexpanded RAM (3.5K), but I’m sure you could probably stick it on a cartridge. Although, I seem to recall that the VICModem used the cartridge slot. Plus you’d have to significantly rewrite lynx (plus the networking program) for it to work on the VIC-20, I imagine, so you might as well start from scratch.

Well, the VIC-20 had available:

– a 64KB RAM expansion cartridge
– VICmodem 300 baud modem
– Commodore 1571 340KB floppy drive

There’s a TCP/IP stack for 6502 based computers here

So I wouldn’t say web browsing would be an impossible feat.

P.S. I found a VIC-20 web server :eek: :eek: :eek:. Unfortunately the original page seems to have fallen off the edge of the web.